HIV-positive patients who drop out of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in a South African clinic have double the death rate of those in treatment, yet one-year mortality among patients in care remains high, and most patient deaths occur while they are still in care, according to a study co-authored by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher.
In the study, published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, BUSPH researcher Dr. Matthew Fox and colleagues from the Health Economics and Epidemiology Research Office in South Africa, a Boston University partner institution, found that mortality was higher in patients who were lost to treatment — meaning they were at least three months late for a scheduled visit — than for those in care. The study found that 36 percent of deaths of patients off ART occurred within six months of leaving care — consistent with prior studies.
Dr. Fox, an associate professor of epidemiology at BUSPH and a researcher with the Center for Global Health & Development, and co-authors reported that the overall death rate at the clinic was 41.1 per 1,000 patients, but that it was substantially higher in the first year of treatment (96.2 deaths per 1,000 patients) than in the second year (31.2 deaths per 1,000).
To read more about the study, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2015/07/28/mortality-rates-twice-as-high-for-those-who-leave-hiv-care/